DAY 1- FRIDAY 22ND MAY

 

The day you leave for the airport is always an exciting time, but a day at work has to be endured before departure. It actually doesn’t go too slowly and Tam and I leave early to be home around 2.30pm. Showered and refreshed we’re off to pick Grandma up just before 4.00pm.

Here comes the first dilemma. How to fit 4 suitcases and 5 people into a Citreon Xsara? The people part isn’t too bad, but the suitcases turn out to be a bit of an issue. They are moved in and out and repositioned several times before a conclusion is reached – these babies ain’t all going to fit in the boot together! We always knew it would be a tight squeeze and had thought about getting a train or taxi to the airport, but financial constraints meant driving was the wisest choice. In the end Grandma’s holdall has to be positioned on the floor in the back of the car between poor India’s legs. India is very good about it and barely moans at all even though her legs are quite squashed. The only thing she says is that her sponge hurts. Now ‘sponge’ is an affectionate term her boyfriend coined for the squeezy bits at the top of your buttocks and has become a bit of a family saying. As descriptions of fatty deposits go, we like sponge.

Anyway, India’s sponge does take a fair pounding as the trip to Gatwick takes over 3 hours. Normally it would be an hour or so shorter, but it’s the start of the bank holiday weekend and the traffic is heavy. We have to leave the M4 due to warnings of bad delays further up and make most of the journey across country. Still, we’re in no hurry and some of the countryside is very pretty.

We arrive at the Gatwick Hilton and drop off Grandma and the girls along with the suitcases while Tam and I drive to the car park – a great deal at 59 for 16 nights using Summer Special Parking.

By the time we get back to the Hilton, check-in and drop the bags in our rooms, it’s 8.30pm. We’re all hungry and so head off to the airport to eat in Frankie and Benny’s. Not the most sophisticated place to eat, but better than paying the extortionate prices at the Hilton.
The place is packed, but we get a table almost straightaway. Food consumed includes a burger, calzone, pizzas and chicken strips. It’s all reasonable enough and is enjoyed with drinks, Tam and India having Mai-Tai’s to celebrate the start of the holiday and the end of India’s International Baccalaureate exams. Grandma has a glass of Chardonnay, which Tam tries. When Tam remarks how much she is enjoying the calzone, Grandma says ‘You mean the white wine dear?’ We all fall about laughing and decide it’s time to take what’s left of Grandma’s glass of ‘Calzone’ away from her. This may have come just a bit too late as Grandma spies a rather tall gentleman serving food. ‘Oooh, he’s a big man’ she exclaims. Kev grabs Grandma’s ‘Calzone’ and downs it in one. It’s the safest thing to do.

Back to the Hilton where we have a drink in the lounge before bed around 11.00pm.


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